Time for more authors from the Cafe and Bookstore who have amazing books that would make amazing Christmas gifts. Many authors write in series and the first author today does so in shades of Lavender Blue. As with most of the featured series, I am starting with book one… Purple (Lavender Blues: Three Shades of Love) by Leslie Tate
Lavender Blues: Three Shades of Love takes us deep into the lives of the Lavender family. The three books – ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’ – explore free love, traditional courtship, open marriage and late-life romance.
Matthew Lavender, starting college in 1969, has embraced a student underworld of drugs, image and cooler than thou. But behind his wild and witty persona lies a shy, sensitive romantic – a ‘feeling type’ bullied at school and restricted by his parents – who knows absolutely nothing about sex.
As Matthew gets involved with fellow-student Sally, the scene shifts to the early 20th century and his grandmother Mary Lavender begins her story.
Brought up by an over-controlling father nicknamed ‘Jack the Hammer’, Mary witnesses her parents’ fierce, monosyllabic rows and the long-running battles between Jack and his children. After the defiant exit of Mary’s brother and sister, Mary meets Stuart Lavender and a traditional courtship begins, leading to the birth of Matthew’s father, Alan.
History repeats itself as Alan and Matthew clash and Matthew leaves home. He takes up residence at a commune where he witnesses some supremely laughable examples of 60s free self-expression. From here on he grows and matures through contact with children and a number of deeply-felt and unpredictable love affairs.
In the end Matthew returns to the beach where he played as a child with Mary. As the two stories come together, Matthew learns a whole new outlook on youth, relationships and the man he has become.
One of the reviews for the book
Purple’ is a delicate, detailed watercolour of a novel. It starts out with the shy and awkward student, Matthew, who is trying his hardest to look cool, clever and with-it. I really disliked Matthew at first but came to like him better as the novel progresses and he has his rough edges rubbed off by his relationships with different female characters, two of whom let him down very badly. He also meets adult role models and eventually comes to realise that his anxious, micro-managing parents were once young and extremely cool – and still can be.
The novel has fabulous descriptive passages, some of which are very poetic. Leslie has given Matthew a number of well-written sex scenes showing his journey from the first awkward encounters to a full and passionate relationship. I enjoyed the scenes at the commune where Matthew discovers a muddy and chaotic world of dreadful poetry and worse art, controlled by a dictatorial leader who forces decisions on everyone and makes them believe it is the group’s will. He progresses from this world to the Colony, which is a family living an ordered and creative existence. The Colony leads him to his godmother and aunt, who in turn shows him who his parents really are.
The story of Matthew’s grandmother Mary is interwoven with Matthew’s, and is a progress from tyrannical father to cold and unloving husband, before eventually finding fulfilment in her children and grandchildren. I’m looking forward to the next two novels in the series.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purple-Courtship-Generation-Lavender-Shades-ebook/dp/B0163F2ESQ
Also by Leslie Tate.
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B
And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B
You can find all the books with reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6043204.Leslie_Tate
Signed copies of all the books can be bought at Leslie Tate’s own bookshop: https://leslietate.com/shop/violet/
Connect to Leslie via his website: https://leslietate.com/
Another author who has written a book that would be perfect for those who are of Italian extraction who might be visiting relatives in Italy at some point.. Patricia Salamone is the author of The Italian Thing an entertaining account of a family reunion in Italy with all its unexpected and glorious memories.
Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!
One of the reviews for the book
I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit. Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country. However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat. “Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life. I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Who were out of their depth, and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!
Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Salamone/e/B00E6ZLPY0
Read other reviews and follow Patricia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7515864.Patricia_Salamone
Connect to Patricia via her Blog: https://the-italian-thing.com/
And now for a book set in the 1970s in Scotland.. a time of unrest in most of the UK with miners’ strikes and the influences of the Northern Ireland troubles.. John Quinn and his debut novel, The Eyes of Grace O’Malley.
About The Eyes of Grace O’Malley
State … Security … Secrets …
Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.
Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?
There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …
Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?
At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really?
One of the recent reviews for the book
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. It reminded me of a distant past but one I remember well. The story is very well developed but to me it is the setting that really evokes those memories. All senses are involved in remembering Edinburgh and indeed Scotland in those days. The characters of Farrell, Roisin and Maggie are particularly well developed – I felt I actually knew them. Their back stories are interesting and realistic. Their adventures, while simple in the beginning, develop into something deeper and more complex and reflect perfectly the world of young people at that time. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-Grace-OMalley-John-Quinn-ebook/dp/B07G65CLY8/
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G65CLY8/
Connect to John Quinn via his blog: https://johndquinn.wordpress.com/books-by-john-quinn/
And the final author today is also a popular contributor here on the blog with her Literary Column.. Jessica Norrie is busy with her next book but in the meantime, here is The Infinity Pool to enjoy or give as a gift.
About the Book.
In this thoughtful novel set on a sun-baked island, Adrian Hartman, the charismatic director of the Serendipity holiday community, is responsible for ensuring the perfect mindful break, with personal growth and inner peace guaranteed. People return year after year to bare their souls. For some, Adrian IS Serendipity. But Adrian disappears, and with him goes the serenity of his staff and guests, who are bewildered without their leader. The hostility of the local villagers is beginning to boil over. Is their anger justified or are the visitors, each in a different way, just paranoid?
As romance turns sour and conflict threatens the stability of both communities, everyone has to find their own way to survive. This evocative story explores the decisions of adults who still need to come of age, the effect of well-intentioned tourism on a traditional community, and the real meaning of getting away from it all.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I enjoyed reading this book during my summer holidays. It gets you thinking about the way we interact with local communities and the environment during our few weeks away in the sun. The book is a nice mix of crime, romance, philosophy, and social constructs.
Read some of the many excellent reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jessica-Norrie/e/B01CEUZF26
and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Pool-Jessica-Norrie-ebook/dp/B011RA8QZW
Find more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270629.Jessica_Norrie
Connect to Jessica via her blog: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com/
Thank you very much for stopping by and I hope you leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally